J. Gresham Machen is best known for his battle against theological liberalism in the northern Presbyterian church in the US (the PCUSA), first founding a seminary (in 1929) and then an independent missions agency in 1933.

This latter action in particular was swiftly condemned by his denomination, and after a couple years of trials and appeals, he was defrocked in 1936. Not long after, he founded a new denomination – the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

I'd like to know if it's documented anywhere that Machen seriously considered joining another Presbyterian body in the US prior to creating the OPC. At the time, there weren't nearly as many Presbyterian options, but others did exist, such as the PCUS (in the South), the ARP, and the RPCNA.

Do we have any evidence, particularly from his writings, that Machen considered joining another Presbyterian denomination instead of founding a new one?

  • This is a footnote in the book 'The Story of Christian Theology' by Roger E. Olson, for chapter 33: "A fascinating account of Machen's relationship with fundamentalism is contained in D.G. Hart, 'Defending the Faith: J. Gresham Machen and the crisis of Conservative Protestantism in Modern America' (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1994). Hart points out the ironies of that relationship." I do not know if there is anything in Hart's book that would answer your question but mention it in case it turns out to be useful. – Anne Dec 27 '19 at 15:46

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